What is Cognitive Hypnotherapy?


Cognitive Hypnotherapy is a flexible and effective model of therapy and coaching which can be used for practically any personal problem. The client and therapist work collaboratively to reach certain outcomes. 

Cognitive Hypnotherapy is unlike traditional hypnotherapy because it utilises effective techniques from Evolutionary Psychology, Positive Psychology, Cognitive theory and Neuro Linguistic Programming, incorporating them into a modern idea of hypnosis to provide a framework for therapy. The work I do will be completely centred around you.


What To Expect?


The rate of development depends on the individual client. Therefore, it is tricky to accurately predict the amount of sessions you’ll need. I expect to see clients for three to six sessions.  However, some people will reap considerable benefits in just as single session, whereas others might require longer term support. In any case, we’ll remain in contact between sessions to calibrate improvement and organise sessions according to your needs.

We’ll start by discussing your problem in detail, analysing your experiences and how they impact your life.

Over the course of treatment, you’ll be given bespoke recordings to listen to outside of sessions. I’ll also provide you with a therapy journal to log your thoughts and development between sessions.


Trance is an everyday phenomenon

Studies show that around 90% of our behaviour is unconscious. This means we are only truly in control of our actions 10 percent of the time!

Traditional hypnotherapy and stage hypnosis create the belief that hypnosis is a state the practitioner must “put you under”.  As Cognitive Hypnotherapists, we understand hypnosis to be a natural, everyday state. Which is most useful to us! Imagine if we had to consciously think about putting one foot in front of the other for every single step to the shops! Or had to consider precisely what to do whilst driving our usual route each day – brain overload!! We’d never get anywhere.

So,  we see that our unconscious mind is there to help us. If our unconscious minds are in control most of the time, it makes sense that it’s the best place to start when making changes to our thought processes, feelings and behavioural patterns. Cognitive Hypnotherapy will help you to understand these processes and take more control of them.


“Most of our behaviour is driven by our unconscious, so it had better be in agreement with you!” – Trevor Silvester


All behaviour has a positive intention


If any aspect of modern life is viewed by the unconscious as stressful it treats it like a threat (the tiger) and the fight or flight response is triggered to protect you. This means, for example, that going to pieces in an interview is actually a struggle between your unconscious trying to get you away from that situation (threat: feelings of not being good enough) and your conscious fighting to stay put. You can see why we use the basic assumption; “all behaviour has a purpose”. Even when that behaviour is having a negative effect, it has a positive intention behind it.

The Fight or Flight Response

When the fight or flight response is triggered, your body is flooded with hormones. These perform certain functions, like increasing respiration, body temperature and moving blood toward the muscles and away from any area of the body that isn’t involved in fighting for survival. This accounts for the butterflies in the stomach. It also redirects blood away from the brain, because you don’t need to think to fight or run away. So, you can basically think or feel, but not both at the same time. The moment the feeling of anxiety or nervousness reaches a certain level you become physically less able to think – that is why your mind goes blank and you struggle to put together a sentence. But at least you could run from a tiger!

This model of mental functioning explains the basis of many problems. Even smoking. If you had an experience when you were younger that led your unconscious to believe that smoking was a good thing (perhaps it made you feel like you ‘belonged’?) then it will continue to motivate you to crave cigarettes, no matter how much you consciously wish to stop.


Whenever we lose the sense of being in control of our actions, we’re in a trance



An Evidence-Based Approach


Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy (QCH) launched a unique research project in 2011. Using a team of QCH therapists, clients with anxiety and depression were assessed using the same outcome measures currently used to assess the effectiveness of talking therapies within the NHS. The pilot study was published in the Mental Health Review Journal in 2015. It found, measuring the effectiveness of Cognitive Hypnotherapy for the treatment of depression and anxiety across 118 cases, that 71% considered themselves recovered after an average of 4 sessions. This compared to an average of 42% for other approaches using the same measures (like CBT). To our knowledge, this is the only hypnotherapy approach to have been validated in this way. You can find further information concerning the research project and pilot study released in the Mental Health Review Journal.

QCH Evidence Based Therapy